A lot of people don’t realize that addiction isn’t a one shot thing - they think it’s something you go through, get over, and if you fall back into it, well, fuck you, you should know better.
Addiction is a life-long thing, something you’re going to live with and dream about and think about for literally the rest of your life. It never goes away, it’s always in the back of your mind. The feeling calls to you, like a siren’s song, for all of your existence.
Addiction finds something else to latch on to once you get over the first thing - smoking, cleaning, music, people, whatever. A different drug, maybe. Something, anything, to fill that endless void that now exists.
Addicts will have recurring nightmares - they can’t really be called dreams because of the memories they bring up - of what they were formerly addicted to. I dream of needles and black tar and unending car rides and giant spoons and no matter what I do to try and drop into a dreamless sleep, it’s guaranteed to eventually surface, stronger and more vibrant, as a way of saying “oh, you thought you could keep me locked up? nope. not happening.”
There are always triggers. Old scars. Strong veins. Smells. Locations. Innocuous actions, like using a lighter or picking up a q-tip to clean your ears. Certain words are triggers, some sounds bring up memories, like the shifting of a car. The smell of vinegar is a particularly familiar and strong trigger for me - something I will almost certainly never be able to get away from.
They have to listen to some people give condescending opinions on addicts - how they are the scum of society, deserve to be imprisoned, got what’s coming to them - and they have to sit and keep quiet, for risk of being outcast, made lonely, and put into a state of mind in which they are particularly vulnerable to that whispering voice that they ignore the best they can.
Addicts are people. They have jobs, own houses, start businesses, are some of your friends. People deserving care and love and friendship and hope and everything else positive in the world. They deserve happiness, perhaps more so than some others for the things they have endured and done. They don’t want to go back to where they were before. They want to live as normally as possible, and without ever treading back into that murky underworld they escaped.
Addiction is not a one time shot. It is a group of thoughts and emotions, a state of mind, a state of being that once you reach, you never fully escape. Addiction is for life, no matter how hard we try to rid ourselves of it. It’s said that it gets easier, but it really doesn’t once you escape that first initial stage of withdrawal. It never does. Every day is a struggle, you just learn to cope with it better. You’re always withdrawing, always fiending; you just learn how to ignore it and pretend it isn’t there. You just learn to manage it, rather than be rid of it, because, once again, you can never fully get away from it.